Education

Arch Coal Names Lemon Teacher Achievement Award Recipient

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Feb. 27, 2008) – Teaching is not an easy job, but a very rewarding one, according to Jill Lemon, who’s taught for seven years. “One of the hardest things to do is to motivate students who often do not see the value of education,” she notes. “Many of my students are socioeconomically disadvantaged, and many are the first in their families to complete high school.

“Often these students need a great deal of encouragement and support in order to reach their goals,” Lemon adds. “Being able to provide that support and encouragement is very satisfying, and being there to see them walk across the stage at graduation is one of the things that keeps me pressing on.”

Today it was Lemon, however, who took center stage. She became one of only 12 teachers statewide to earn a 2008 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. Steven F. Leer, Arch Coal chairman and chief executive officer, made the announcement during a presentation ceremony at the state capitol. He was accompanied by West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin, West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve Paine and West Virginia Education Association (WVEA) President Charles Delauder.

“Jill Lemon realizes that children have different learning styles, yet she’s up to the challenge,” says Leer. “By addressing their individual needs, she helps ensure that her students experience success.”

Lemon teaches science and human anatomy courses at Braxton County High School, Sutton. “Sharing in the learning process with students is one of my strong points,” she notes. “As a lifelong learner, I enjoy seeing students learn new things and ‘digging in’ to a new project or question.

“Sometimes the most teachable moments are not found in the formal lesson plan, but come from a student’s question or a remark made during a lively discussion,” Lemon adds. “Often, the search for answers will lead me and the students down a road that we didn’t expect. At those times, I truly feel like students are engaged in their education, and I’m happy to have a part in it.”

Lemon earned a bachelor’s degree at West Virginia Wesleyan College and a master’s degree at West Virginia University. As part of her work with the Health Science & Technology Academy, an after-school program for students interested in pursuing careers in health sciences, Lemon gets an opportunity to work with professors from West Virginia University, learn about current research in the medical field and share that knowledge with students. She further supports her community through involvement in various church programs and community service projects.

In addition to recognition, award recipients receive a personal, $2,500 unrestricted cash prize, a distinctive trophy and a classroom plaque. Also, the West Virginia Foundation for the Improvement of Education, a foundation of WVEA, provides public schools of the recipients with $1,000 grants for use with at-risk students.

The teacher recognition awards are underwritten by the Arch Coal Foundation and supported in program-promotion by the West Virginia Department of Education, WVEA and the West Virginia Library Commission. The Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards is the longest running, privately sponsored teacher recognition program in the state. Nominations of the teachers are made by the public, and selection is made by a blue-ribbon panel of the teachers’ peers – previous recipients of the award.

Arch Coal is one of the nation’s largest coal producers. Through its national network of mines, Arch supplies the fuel for approximately 6 percent of the electricity generated in the United States. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACI) and maintains its corporate headquarters in St. Louis, Mo.